• What are the KEYSTONE EXAMS?

    The KEYSTONE EXAMS are state-mandated end-of-course assessments in Algebra I, Biology and Literature. At the high school level, they replace the PSSA’s and are used to satisfy the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.

    Each KEYSTONE EXAM is divided into two parts called modules. Student scores are based on the total points earned from the two modules combined. The scores are then broken down into the following categories: Advanced, Proficient, Basic and Below Basic. Students must score in the Advanced or Proficient range to show their mastery of the content.

    Why are the KEYSTONE EXAMS important?

    Beginning with the Class of 2019, all students are required to show Proficiency on each of the KEYSTONE EXAMS to earn a high school diploma.

    When do students take the KEYSTONE EXAMS?

    Students must take a KEYSTONE EXAM at the end of each of the Keystone-assessed course. After the completion of the Biology course, students will take the Biology KEYSTONE EXAM.


    GRADE LEVEL ADMINISTERED (for most students)

    Algebra I

    7th, 8th, 9th grades during Geometry course


    10th grade during Honors English 10 or CP English 10


    11th grade during Honors Biology or CP Biology

    How many times can a student take a KEYSTONE EXAM?

    Students must demonstrate Proficiency to meet graduation requirements. Once a student scores Advanced or Proficient, he/she has met the graduation requirement and is finished with that exam.

    What is the score breakdown for Advanced, Proficient and Basic?

                              Keystone Exam Scale Score Ranges                        






    Algebra 1















    If a student in the class of 2019 and beyond is unable to demonstrate Proficiency on a KEYSTONE EXAM, what support will he/she receive in preparation to retake the exam?

    Students will receive supplemental instruction in order to prepare for the next attempt at the exam. Supplemental instruction will be through our Algebra Standards and Literature Standards 0.5 credit, mandatory courses.

    If a student scores Proficient, can they retest to attempt to earn an Advanced score?

    No, the Pennsylvania Department of Education does not allow for retests once a student has scored Proficient.

    My student scored Proficient or Advanced on the Algebra I KEYSTONE EXAM in middle school. Do they have to take it again in high school?

    No, once a student scores Proficient or Advanced they have satisfied the state requirements for the content area.

    Will my child receive accommodations on the KEYSTONE EXAMS?

    Eligible students, in alignment with the Accommodation Guidelines as developed by Pennsylvania Department of Education, will receive accommodations as outlined within their IEP or 504 plan.

    How will the District prepare my child?

    District courses aligned with KEYSTONE EXAMS are designed to address the requirements of these tests.

    Students who are required to take a KEYSTONE EXAM after already completing the course shall be provided with further information about KEYSTONE EXAMS from their teachers. Information about the test structure, subject content, and released test items will be made available.

    What are the requirements for students in the class of 2017 and 2018?

    The majority of these students have already taken and demonstrated Proficiency on the KEYSTONE EXAMS.

    Can my child opt out of the KEYSTONE EXAMS?

    As with PSSA tests, parents may review KEYSTONE EXAMS per state regulations and opt out for religious reasons only. A student who is opted out due to religious reasons is still required under state law to participate in the PROJECT-BASED ASSESSMENT. Starting with the class of 2019, all students graduating from a Pennsylvania high school must demonstrate Proficiency on the KEYSTONE EXAMS or pass a PROJECT-BASED ASSESSMENT.

    What happens if my child has a significant medical issue and cannot take a KEYSTONE EXAM during the testing window?

    We encourage communication with your student’s counselor and building principal.

    How can I support my student?

    Encourage your student to relax and do their best. Students should be well-rested during the testing days. Continue to communicate with your student’s teachers and understand your child’s past and present performance.